American Electric Power Company Inc. (AEP) “has asked state regulators to approve a $31.80 monthly fee for customers who don’t want a smart meter,” reports Columbus Business First. According to the article, “[t]he company said the opt-out charge is necessary to pay for meter readers who would have to go out of their way to read remaining traditional meters.” Smart meters automatically send usage data to the service provider. AEP told the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) that the proposed amount was based on average travel time for an electrician earning $28.76 per hour. The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel argued that the fee “should be lowered to $10.49 per month,” based on the time it takes to read a meter, and also said bimonthly readings could be substituted for monthly readings. For more, read the full article.